Tag Archives: depression

One Week to a Horrible Performance Review!

I shouldn’t be surprised that it was bumped early, but having to listen to a half hour reminder of my failures over the last year is not the way I want to spend the last day of work before I go on maternity leave. Nor is having a joint review by my former boss who has already demoted me (though an official title demotion will likely happen AT the review) and a new boss who doesn’t like me and who is likely being forced to manage me for a few months until he can decide if I stay or go. Probably. Who knows.

Last year I was put on an unofficial PIP. They gave be a “3” on my review, which was overly kind, and the only low number that doesn’t lead to being immediately fired. I was given a 1.7% cost of living increase and told I have a few months to shape up or I’m out. And for a few months it felt like maybe I could pull off a miracle. Even my then boss said I was doing well. I had turned a corner. I stepped up and she seemed happy with my performance. Briefly. Oh-so briefly.

Then, I crashed. I couldn’t keep it up. It became clear I would never be a leader. She reminded me of this at my half-year check in. I’m just—not likable—or something like that. I don’t have the right personality to lead. I never will. I’m going to be put in a new role. I was not given a new title. I was not informed how my colleague would be replacing me (though I basically knew because we are friends.) Nothing was communicated to me other than that I suck and I’m being moved to a role that’s “a better fit for my skills.” In other words “we aren’t firing you yet because you are pregnant and we are making a role for you that sounds like a lateral move so you don’t sue us.” Not that I would. They have enough on me and my failures. I have enough on me to last a lifetime of I give up.

I cry a few times a day. Still. 37 year old grown ass woman and mom of almost 2 and yet I cry because it feels so hopeless. And now that I’ve been banned from all strategic conversations I feel like I’m at the end. Again. But holding on as long as I can so I don’t have to try to find a new job with a newborn and a toddler. And, mostly, so I can try to figure out what job I can get that is remotely sustainable. I don’t know what I’m good at. I have spurts of energy and contributions here and there, but I’m not consistent enough. And I have a personality like nails on a chalkboard, apparently. Either I should run for President of the USA or maybe settle for … oh, I don’t know what. The low paid jobs are the hardest. It’s easier for me to hold a higher paid job than a low one. But I can’t hold any job for that long. The three plus years at this one included 6 months mat leave, and maybe — if I don’t get fired next week — I’ll make it to 4 years with another sleep deprived post baby hiatus. That doesn’t really count. The reality is, I can’t hold down a job. I am hired because I work my ass off and do a billion jobs ok enough until my company is big enough to hire people who know what they are doing. Then they get rid of me.

This performance review is going to be humiliating. I am glad it’s via zoom as I can pinch myself constantly off camera as I do when I try to keep myself from crying or blurting out something pointlessly defensive. I will listen and hope that this review doesn’t involve firing me a day before I’m scheduled to go on maternity leave. That seems pretty harsh, so maybe that isn’t what is happening. Maybe it’s another performance plan, to kick in when I come back. Maybe it’s a long list of documentation of all the ways I fucked up this last year. It certainly isn’t a “4” or a “5.” I’m lucky if it’s a 3 and no financial demotion and no PIP. How could it be anything better than that?

Filling out the self review was rough. I couldn’t think of anything to write and then at the last minute I put too much. I’m embarrassed my new boss (who was not so long ago my peer) will see it. I’m embarrassed that he will also see my compensation, which feels weird as I might be making more than him, which would make him even more likely to give me the axe ASAP. My old role at least made sense at that comp level. New role, not so much. So maybe they reduce my pay. Maybe they want to rush to do the review so I’m not surprised that while on leave my salary has gone down $30k a year.

Or I’m overthinking it and they just want to go over everything so when I come back in April or May they don’t have to deal with it.

Regardless, I’m hoping it is less painful that I expect it will be. I can’t imagine there will be any surprises. They’ve mostly come already. Except a financial and title demotion. That would hurt. But it’s possible. I hope not. In any case, I have one year to hold on and then it’s time to start looking for a new job. I don’t want just any job. I want one where I can be a 4 or 5. I hope I can find it. I am seriously depressed and trying to keep my mind off my never-ending failure. I guess right now I have to breathe through being told how horrible I am by 2 people and thank them for their feedback and then put all my energy on surviving next May through December. The home stretch is in sight ahead.

It is all my fault, the failure and such. But I also can’t figure out how not to fail. I spend too much time thinking about how many months I have left until my life insurance policy makes it past the 2 year look back. I don’t think I’d ever really end my life but sometimes it seems like a good option. I don’t know. I just want a path to being ok. I’m far beyond wanting to be exceptional at anything. I’ve moved on to wanting to support my family. But I can’t even do that consistently. If I get fired now, it would be my first time getting fired as a breadwinner, and with two kids to boot. I’m used to getting fired when there is no mortgage to pay or mouths to feed or lights to keep on—but what happens now? Sure I have a sizable emergency fund but it’s just another sign that I’m incapable of handling life. So. I don’t know. I don’t know how to do any of it. I’m putting so much money into this house and my contractor makes me feel like an idiot and my husband reminds me how I can’t communicate and blames me for the contractor’s confusion and he’s probably right. Meanwhile the circuit for our overhead lights is out and our hot water won’t turn on and I have no idea if any of the work on the house is being done right and I don’t know how to be assertive and ask in a way that gets real answers. This whole house fixing process is a whole new layer of me feeling like absolute shit all the fucking time.

There really is no joy to be had in anything anymore. Except sometimes seeing my son and his happiness and remembering that once upon a time I must have been happy too. I mean, I’m not sure when. From a young age I was taught everything is my fault. That I’m broken. And for a while I thought maybe that was a false narrative. I tried to escape it. But that’s actually the truth. Something is wrong with me. Know me for more than a few minutes and you would notice it too. And, so, this is why I cry. Maybe it’s self pity. Hopelessness. A muffled cry for help that I silence because there is nothing that can help. I just have to keep moving. Get through a day at a time. Eventually the days will add up. My investments will compound. One day I’ll get somewhere. But I don’t know where it is I am going. And I don’t even know if I’ll notice when I reach the destination.

Will I Ever Be Good at Anything

Rough day. Husband is (rightfully) mad at me because I took a work call in our bedroom which is also his office which is also where he is currently running a massive virtual conference and apparently my voice picked up on the recording so everyone could hear me. So he is pissed. I should have done my call from the kitchen but my son was screaming in the background and I hate taking video calls from the bathroom in case the virtual background fades out at any point. I should have asked my mother in law to watch my son today but I had a bunch of meetings that popped up in the morning and I didn’t want to drive my son the 30 minutes to her house. I thought I could handle it. I couldn’t.

The juxtaposition between he feeling of seeing my total annual income to date in my paycheck account to the feeling of utter worthlessness is jarring. This time of year is always hard for me. I don’t do well with the way the air smells. My sore lungs and sheer exhaustion. I’m trying to hold on at work to just not get fired before I go on maternity leave. I’m trying and failing to stop caring about my demotion, my billionth reality check of being not smart enough or personable enough to thrive in a professional environment. I’m trying to manage contractors for the new house and have no idea what I’m doing or if I’m making wise decisions. Every decision to me is like having a tooth pulled without Novocain. And I’m 30 weeks pregnant.

My apartment is a mess. I don’t want to live like this. I tell myself when we move to the new house I’ll somehow keep things organized. I will keep the kitchen floor free of crumbs. I’ll cook healthy food so my toddler doesn’t eat crap all day. I will simply and figure it all out.

Yea, right. I’m hopeless. I can’t hire help right now because of COVID risk. Even last time when I had a baby I hired 6 months of monthly home cleaning services. Husband won’t allow that now. It’s good I’ll save money but I don’t know how to keep things from falling apart. I’m falling apart.

I really wish I wasn’t such a train wreck of a human. I mean, for being such a train wreck I’ve at least managed to save a decent amount so my family is in an ok position. Not a perfect one. But I’ve fought for this financial security. I’ll keep fighting. I am just tired of messing up constantly. Of not fitting in. Of trying to fake it but clearly failing over and over and over and over again. It’s so tiring. At least earning money and increasing my net worth makes me feel like I add some value to the world. I have a reason for existing that is positive that negates some my destructive behavior. It doesn’t feel like much. But it’s something.

I like being a mom. I wish I was better at it. That I had more energy to play with my son. I worry about the moment he realizes what crying means and he notices how sad I am. I want to hide that from him, but it’s hard to hide how lost I am. I just have to hold on and hold it all in.

The only thing I can think is that my best path forward, which I’ve been trying to do, is to disappear as much as possible. It seems things go best when I try to function as a robot and not  as a person who is overly sensitive and incapable of existing in the world. It takes so much energy to do that, if I just minimize myself it works sometime. I make a routine that is very strict and follow it. Like now on Saturday mornings I tend to clean up my son’s room and the kitchen. I need more steps like that. At home and at work. If I can just give up on this idea that I can ever be happy or proud of my work and instead really switch my mindset to focus on being liked and getting things done and having no personality I can probably be in a much better place. This really is the ultimate solution. I waste so much time lost inside my fears and anxieties and it doesn’t seem to help at all. I need to let go of chasing anything and just let it happen while not letting things fall into chaos.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I’m really overwhelmed right now and it doesn’t help that I’m a horrible wife, mother, employee, everything. I don’t think I’m exaggerating. Maybe I can change. I don’t know how to. I feel sorry for my husband. Sorry for my bosses who have to put up with me and eventually fire me. Anyone who expects anything out of me.

I’m tired. So fucking tired.

When You Do Good Work But It Doesn’t Matter.

I struggled through a new process at work that was ill-defined and required leadership where I did not serve the role as leader effectively for a number of reasons. In the past–less than two months–I went (briefly) from a top performer to bottom of the pack. This time, I really tried. But I didn’t get everyone to move fast enough. I didn’t get myself to move fast enough. I committed to dates that in hindsight were unrealistic, but I also didn’t know enough about what I was doing to fully scope the project and understand WHAT I was committing to, which was the biggest problem.

In the end, I lost my leadership role and was transferred to another position. Which is fine in that I don’t know if I would do THAT much better should I be offered another chance. I don’t think I’m creative enough for the position, or able to produce the best work required by the position. The guy who is taking over (who happens to be my friend) is way more confident, has a clear vision, and is a leader. He’ll do well. He believes in himself and his ideas. I wish I believed in myself but it’s hard when I don’t know what I’m doing.

I’m a bit sad this week because the project was actually launched on time, despite my initial delays that led to me losing my role. There is a lot more to it, but basically my failure to force everything through a new process and timing that I agreed to led to my hitting a wall. In fact, had I not been pregnant, I think I may have lost my job a few weeks ago. I’m not sure. In any case, I am conflicted because I’m proud of the work that I was able to put out and feel like I collaborated fairly effectively with the team, and yet in the end it doesn’t matter because I messed up when it came to certain delivery dates that really had no meaning outside of my setting them.

Talk about self sabotage.

It didn’t help that a project manager came in and threw me under the bus multiple times. That was not a good situation. Again, I take the blame for the dates pushing. She had convinced me that moving the dates for delivery of this one part of the project out a few weeks wouldn’t hurt, and that it was better to be realistic in whatever date I set if I was changing the delivery date. I had a planned vacation in there as well, so the date that was reset to seemed quite far out. I knew it wouldn’t impact the semi-planned launch date (I couldn’t get everyone to agree to a launch date or what launch meant to begin with, which was part of the problem) so against my better judgement (of which I have little) I agreed to the delayed delivery date. I knew this date still gave the team plenty of time to hit the semi-agreed on launch date by end of month for all of the other work that needed to be done once I delivered my part of the project.

Oh, it also happened that the week I was on vacation there was a meeting where my boss joined and the project manager said I decided to move the dates and acted like this was not her idea and she didn’t know why I decided to move the dates or why I was delivering the project so late.

Well, all of this set off a ripple effect of shit sandwich. Everything was hooked up in our project management system so suddenly dates for all the next steps tied to a launch date we never committed to moved out, and everyone freaked out. My boss was unhappy to say the least. I tried to explain that this shift wouldn’t actually move the project launch timeline we committed to (by end of month.) But that didn’t matter. I missed a deadline, which has been an issue of mine that I had to not do again this year, and so, I’m out. Kaput. Well, transferred.

The new role is fine. It’s an opportunity to focus on one area and build processes there and if I can just get shit done on time (and really pad everything even if I get pushback up front on how long the timeline looks) then maybe I can survive the next year and become a better project manager and people will trust me again.

I just wish I was judged for the quality of work and how it will help the business in addition to any pushed deadlines. I should have just said hell with quality and minimized scope. That’s what a true leader would have done. Or any person in their right mind who doesn’t want to lose their job. But I saw the opportunity to do good work and I didn’t want to skimp on anything. This took time and reviews and feedback from a lot of people. I don’t actually love the end result (it’s not even my vision, I took everyone else’s ideas and executed on them generally) but I think it’s solid. I think it will be good for the business. I think it deserves some kind of “not getting fired” recognition for being pretty ok.

What I’m most sad about is I get it now. I could take what I’ve learned and do it so much better next time. But I’ll never have the chance. Not here, anyway. Maybe that’s ok. I can take what I’ve learned and one day apply it elsewhere, even if the processes and people will be different.

On top of this project, I’ve spent the last year building a foundation for a lot of the general processes in my respective area. I’ve done a lot of work that my boss unfortunately doesn’t care about (which is dumb on my part) but I still know it will help the business and maybe, eventually, one day, someone will notice. Or not. But I feel good about that too.

In short, I’ve learned a lot this year and I think I’ve done pretty good work. That is meaningless because I missed deadlines that set and also suck at communication, apparently. Some parts of the communication were easier due to everyone WFH and others were harder. A few slack and email conversations were incorrectly interpreted. There were a lot of cooks in the kitchen and I was just trying to make dinner on time for our guests, but the cooks were all mad at me for delaying parts of the process. Dinner was served on time.

So I’m just frustrated at this point. And unsure if I’d be happier had I met deadlines and kept my role going forward. It would still have been hard, and I still would have struggled to drive alignment and get everyone moving in the same direction. I am sad because my friend (who is very good at his job) was given the role–not because he was given the role–but because of why. Because of all the things he is that I’m not. I’m not jealous or angry or resentful. Just sad. I process things too slowly. I don’t use big words or sound smart and confident when I talk. I don’t have that gusto that is needed where everyone just trusts you and your vision. Nor do I have it in me to put out work that I’m not proud of just to hit deadlines, which seems to be a key skill in leadership. To me, everything needs to make sense. If we’re doing something, we’re doing something that isn’t just to check the box and move on to the next thing. I actually want to put out work that adds value.

I just need to do that faster.

And it’s too late. I have a few weeks left at this point before maternity leave, and I’m already transitioning to my new role. When I come back, I’ll have to build processes from the ground up again. I enjoy doing that, but it puts me at risk for the same issues in a way–because I’m learning how long each part of the process takes and trying to sort that out with a whole other batch of cooks that are slightly different but equally opinionated. I don’t feel good about that. I want to be able to take what I’ve done and learn from it and do better next time, versus start over.

But it doesn’t matter. I don’t get that choice. And to be fair, my boss has given me a lot of runway through the last years, through my mental health issues, through having a baby, through getting a performance plan and then six months later being recognized as a top performer (not by my boss, but still) and then another two months later of letting everything get to me, falling apart, and giving me the opportunity to move to a new role that has less visibility, so I don’t make her look bad. I get it. I’m not upset at that.

I’m sad because I wonder had I just hit those dates, would I still have this job? I know there were other issues with communication and such. I felt like maybe the work I was producing wasn’t good for a while. The more exciting parts of the project requiring more work from others were cut due to reprioritization. I stepped in and filled in the holes versus just accepting that we were cutting a crucial part of the project.

What my colleagues get that I clearly don’t is that you just have to protect yourself. It’s all a game at the end of the day. Good work matters, but we’re already doing good work–that’s why we were hired. What matters is that everyone else sees you as someone they can rely on to deliver. I get that. I don’t know how to do that and also stick to my principles of always delivering high-quality and meaningful work.

In the end, the project was delivered on time, and I’m on-time being delivered to a new position.

I did not get a formal demotion or reduction in pay (likely because of the whole being pregnant thing.) I have no idea what my new title is because things are always so disorganized that no one has brought this up yet. No one has actually even informed me that my coworker is taking over for my role officially. It seems either they are too busy to do this or they are purposefully waiting until I’m on maternity leave to make the transition. However, it’s a whole bunch of awkward given that people keep asking me who will be doing my role and I have to answer them I don’t know. They seemed to want to set this whole thing up to make it look like it was my choice to move into this new role, but they really aren’t giving me a lot to work with to support that story. Meanwhile, if coworker friend takes my title, wtf is my title?

And should I even care? I don’t know what I should care about. My ego is trampled on yet at the end of the day, I still have my paycheck. I am so grateful for that. If I can step back and just look at this whole situation from a purely financial perspective, I’m over-the-moon fortunate, especially given the current state of the world. While there is no guarantee I will still have a job at this time next year, it seems odds are increasingly in my favor. So I should just shut up, stop complaining, and focus on doing a good job in my new role. There is absolutely no reason I cannot, in approximately 18 months, look for a position similar to my original role at another company and try this again, if it makes sense to try this again. I’m not sure yet if that’s what I want to do–but with the experience I do have I can actually go in and make a good first impression versus scrambling to figure out what I’m doing.

I think that will be a good thing.

I am Unwell and I am Scared

I am going to be 37. I have an, on paper, great job where I’m earning a lot of money on my base plus bonus and stock. I just bought a house. And I’m a complete and utter disaster. I’m scared. I’m really fucking scared.

I’m scared because I’m not actually good at my job. Things were briefly going well, but again I’ve been reminded how not good at my job I am. I have improved, but not to the point where I actually have any idea what I’m doing or can be consistent in my work. I don’t think I’ll get fired before I have a kid unless I totally mess up–but I have 30 years of a giant mortgage weighing on me now. I have 1 and soon to be 2 kids. I am the breadwinner. I have to make this work.

My mother is spending down her assets too fast. She refuses to change her spending behavior. I am trying to help her. I don’t know if I’m helping. I found her a fee only CFP who is advising 60/40 split but even that won’t get her to hit her goals. Her “friend” is going hard at her saying she should get an annuity. She already has a sizable pension from my dad and a decent amount of social security. She needs to sell the family home–yesterday–and I can’t bring myself to push her to do that immediately. I was going to go back for a while this summer to help move things out, to say my goodbyes, but then COVID happened. — Even if I tell her she has to sell now, she won’t anyway. She wants to go back and spend too much time going through the hoarder house and moving things into a storage unit in a state she will probably never visit. I can’t emotionally handle advising on any of this. I just look at the analysis and see how she is going to run out of money if she lives as long as I hope she does. But she’s not exactly the healthiest person on earth. Should we be modeling to 85 instead of 100? Does she only have 20 years left, or less?

I can’t get fired from my job. I’m trying to catch up. Trying to dig myself out of the mess I’ve fallen into again. Too many people at work dislike me and throw me under the bus. It’s because I care too much, though. I’m not actually in it for myself or anything. I’m not chasing a promotion. I just want to do good work. And I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m at too high of a level to get any help. My boss liked me for a bit this year because I stopped asking for help and I pretended everything was ok. But then that all fell hard on my head like a pile of bricks. Why did I miss deadlines again? Oh, because I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Still. Please don’t fire me. Please give me another chance. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make it work.

Some things are going well, but that’s all negated by everything that isn’t. This house purchase is exciting and feels good like I finally have made something meaningful of my life but it also feels like I just shackled myself and I’m not going to survive the next 30 years. I really don’t think I can do it. I am trying to take it one day at a time. Because maybe I can keep making enough income to pay a $5k or $7k mortgage. I have to. I don’t have a choice. I mean, I have some savings that I can use for a while if I can’t hold a job. But the longer I don’t hold a job, the harder it will be to get a job that pays enough to pay the mortgage. So I have to keep this job, and eventually get another job, and so on, until I’m 66, and have the mortgage paid off.

I don’t want to complain about any of this. Because I’m so fortunate to be where I am and to have this job and to have stock to sell off and I’ll probably be fine because somehow it all works out in the end. But I’ve also kept my living expenses so low and that’s granted me some breathing room even when things start looking really bad. Now I don’t have that breathing room. Not now, and not in the next 30 years. 30 years is a long time. I mean, I’m 36, so it’s not like, my whole life… but 30 years ago I was 6. So.

I wish I could talk to my husband about this stuff, but I can’t because he will just get frustrated with me and upset that I’m being so fickle again. It’s like with my job — things go well when I hide everything I’m scared of. When I try to hide the mess that I am and just pretend like everything is great. That’s how it works in my relationship as well. I mean, my husband can read my blog if he wanted to — but he doesn’t. Which is fine. I just need to write here because sometimes I need a  place to get things off my chest. My therapist doesn’t really help… I mean, she can help me figure out how to calm down in the moment. But that’s not going to help me get better at my job. Or be able to pay this mortgage for 30 years.

This is where I hit a wall over and over again. Why I end up so fucking depressed even if from the outside work I guess I “have it all” — a house, a husband, kids, a good job, etc. I mean, I made a plan and here I am hitting it. Second kid at 37. House. $X in my bank account before I buy a house. It’s like, it’s all going so great then why am I this sad and terrified? I try not to think about it. I’m not going to be happy but I try to just focus on the here and now and get through the day. Keep my job as long as possible. Keep pretending I got this.

But I don’t. I don’t got this at all.

DUI Depression 10 Years Later

The day I got my DUI seems like a million years ago. In fact, it was about 9 years and a month ago. While I don’t remember much of my 20s, I do remember that night all too clearly. All the bad decisions I made. The reckoning of my entire self identify as a “good girl” all lost in one evening of drinking too much wine at a networking event and, in the days before uber, driving home after waiting what I thought was long enough to sober up — when it clearly wasn’t.

What followed my DUI was deserved, but that doesn’t negate how horrible it was. A night at the jail handcuffed to a chair. Six weekends of “community service,” the classes, the  $10k+ in costs… or more, I stopped counting. Years later, I just want to forget about it. I made a commitment to myself that night that if I was ever to drink again, I would take public transport or uber to get home. And since then I haven’t received a DUI, nor have I had any reason to get one — because I don’t drive after drinking. Ever.

This doesn’t stop my past from haunting me. In applying for home insurance, it has come up that purchasing car insurance alongside it as a bundle could save on our total rate. Well–guess what? These companies immediately ask me if I had a DUI in the last 10 years. Sadly, my conviction was in November 2011, which is still under 10 years ago. Many companies said they won’t insure me at all. One said they might be able to get an override, but I wouldn’t qualify for a good driver discount.

Luckily I have car insurance now and it’s a fair rate so it’s not the end of the world, but it really feels like a sharp gutting of my heart in being reminded of the horrible mistake in my past. I don’t want to forget about it, but I also don’t want to be reminded of it anymore. I was 25 then. I’m 36 now. I’m just in a different place in my life.

The only good news is that this reminded me that in one year I won’t have the DUI on my motor vehicles report anymore. It will still show up when employers search my records — and will still make it hard to get into Canada — but at least, soon, I can kind of move on. I though I had moved on. But clearly I haven’t. So I’m a bit depressed this evening. Embarrassed of my former self. Acknowledging I am the same hot mess I was then, only a little better when it comes to decision making.

This comes on top of an incredible amount of stress (probably too much) in trying to figure out home insurance. I don’t get what we are supposed to be covered for and I don’t know how much we should be covered for. The replacement costs all the agencies are providing seem way too low given I’m told in the Bay Area it costs $500-$600+ per square foot to build. I thought the home insurance part of home buying would be straight forward (bank wants you to be covered for the cost of the loan, you get covered for the cost of the loan, and you’re good.)

I’m stressed out because I’m in the middle of this closing process and we’re still awaiting the appraisal and we’re still waiting to find out if we can get the property insured (or maybe we already have a policy we haven’t paid for — I’m confused) — and one company that was high rated said they may not insure us because there are galvanized pipes and every company is asking me how old the roof is and I don’t have any idea as the seller’s report does not say and our landlord doesn’t know. And this insurance agent I spoke with kind of freaked me out about the galvanized pipe issue. So there’s another thing we’ll have to fix when we move in, possibly. So many things.

I just want to be happy right now. I want to feel like this is an accomplishment and I want this opportunity to feel good just for a few minutes, you know? But at the moment I feel like absolute shit. Scared. Ashamed of my past. And just trying to get through this process to buy the house and figure out what really needs to be fixed and how much it will cost to make it safe and reduce risk as much as possible.

New pipes, huh?

I Was Put on a PIP (Personal Improvement Plan) and I’m Going to Beat It.

I thought the job situation was improving. Sure, I struggled a bit to meet a few deadlines, but I was getting on top of all of my projects. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’ve been let go from jobs numerous times, so my current pickle is not exactly surprising. Nonetheless, it’s pouring salt on a long-time festering wound that I’ve been trying to heel, and I’m equal parts upset about it and wanting to fix my problems and be a survivor at my company, at least for the next year.

Looking back on the last year–the year that was officially reviewed–it is easy to forget how in January of 2019 I had just come back from maternity leave and was still pumping 3x a day at work. I pushed out some of my maternity leave to take later in my son’s first year, so I actually was out 6 weeks in 2019 beyond my typical PTO. Nonetheless, none of this was mentioned in the review, in writing or otherwise. Instead, I got handed a “coaching plan” which is a nicely phrased version of a PIP which is a nicely phrased version of you’re going to be fired soon and we’re just covering our behinds.

Many of my friends have advised me that this is writing on the wall and there is no use to trying to address the issues in this plan… it’s far too late at this point to recover. I should be focused on finding a new job. Maybe they’re right. I could regret doubling down on my current role and trying to fix the issues noted in my PIP. So many are subjective, it’s hard to imagine that I’ll ever successfully “pass” it. But there are some changes organizationally happening on my team that might help (or hurt) and my gut tells me to give it my all, wait it out, and see what happens. I’ve accepted I’ll never get a promotion in my company, but I don’t need a promotion. I need to survive and collect the RSUs that are rightfully mine if I’m able to stay. It’s that simple. Just. Don’t. Get. Fired.

My boss SEEMS to want to help me, but I’ve learned long ago to trust no one. I mean, I trust that she’s going to do what is best for the company and her career. If I’m not what’s best for the company or her career, I’m out. The big question is–am I already out in her mind, or can I come back from the dead like one great big corporate zombie that everyone loves?

The whole thing makes me feel ill. It’s hard to sleep and concentrate, so that makes it extra challenging to recover from my issues in the office. I’ve reviewed my PIP multiple times and have come to the conclusion that the issue isn’t my missing deadlines or failing to collaborate effectively with others–it’s that I can’t actually do my job. It’s not the type of job one gets training in–you’re either good at it, or you’re not. And I’m, well, I’m good enough to get by in it if its not my primary responsibility, but it’s pretty clear I’m struggling with the fundamental requirements of the role.

BUT. But. I’m also thriving with parts of the role–I don’t want to toot my own horn (because it’s rusty and busted anyway) but I can’t think of anyone else who would be successful in this role. It’s not because any of my individual tasks/projects are so difficult that no one could do them… it’s that my job is so allllll over the place that it would be hard to find one person who can do all of these projects even remotely effectively. I wear many hats, which seems to work in my favor, until it doesn’t. The hats go flying and no one cares enough to catch them.

I’m in such an emotional roller coaster right now I’m trying my darnedest to hold it together. I need to. For my family. For our future. For my self worth. And because I really want to know–am I failing at this role because I’m not good at it OR is there something else going on. Can I be successful at it? I have some pretty specific marching orders. Even if “success” in these areas is as subjective as whether that dress is blue or gold, I can at least focus on trying to do what the plan says. I can meet deadlines by better project managing and getting people involved in these projects my earlier on. I’ve learned that I need to see myself as a project manager versus creative. I am not the expert here. I am the consolidator of expertise. This kind of goes against the next bullet in the PIP which is have a strong viewpoint about my work and believe in it–but I can do that without it being my viewpoint. Turning in quality work will be challenging because I always make stupid mistakes (I miss the details, thank you ADHD, and sometimes miss stupid things like when I used the word tantamount and meant paramount and the VP caught it and did I mention I’m an idiot?) Other than that, I just need to pay attention in meetings. Ok, I can do that.

Everything above seems simple. If I just show up at work early, leave late, make sure that I’m project managing vs creating then, well, maybe people will stop hating me so much? I don’t know if it’s possible as whenever I turn something in everyone has SO MUCH FEEDBACK on it and wants to change what I’ve written. I don’t disagree with their feedback, I just wonder why I can’t think of these things myself so I can deliver something they would actually like. That’s my real goal and I don’t think I can achieve that… which is why I know I’m long for this career in general. But if I can hold my breath and hang on for dear life for the next 2 years, it will be an incredibly bumpy ride, but also incredibly worth it. I hope I can.

Happiness.

Today, I went for a long-ish walk with my son. It took forever to get out of the apartment but we finally headed out around 10:30 and I walked to coffee, then a local dog park, then a children’s clothing store, and got back home around 1pm.

As I was walking home, despite having a headache due to my new diet, I was amazed by how happy I felt. I mean, happy as in, content. As in — half way between my two weeks off from work (office shutdown over the holidays), I actually feel relaxed and able to enjoy life. Fuck, it feels good.

It got me thinking–I really am tired of this Bay Area life (more on that in my next post re: housing costs and current status on that adventure.) But what the hell is the point? I do LOVE the Bay Area in terms of its climate, closeness to so many awesome places, various downtowns and things to do, etc etc, but at the end of the day, I just want to be able to have time to go for a long walk with my son when the sun is still out, or to spend time with him indoors if it’s too cold to do that.  Or a drive somewhere. Just have, you know, time.

Time to spend with my family. Time to exercise. Time to eat healthy. Time to BE healthy. Time to make new friends and nurture existing ones.

I’ll certainly miss our friends here but the reality is we see our friends so infrequently we could live on the moon and pay for a roundtrip back and forth to see our friends as much as we see them now and it would still be cheaper. Ok, not the moon, but like, Indiana. Or Pennsylvania. Or Guam.

Committing to a mortgage here, even if we move far as fuck away from my office to find something “affordable” (ie $5k a month) and turn me into a lifelong supercomputer so I can afford to pay that mortgage for 30 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that won’t make me happy at all. I want to sit in a house with a fire and a backyard and just be with my family. I haven’t really had time to spend with them. I’m exhausted when I get home from work, and just want to sleep on the weekends too.

I still want to make it two more years here, getting as much of my stock as possible. It won’t hurt to have more money in the bank if we do move elsewhere. I just don’t know how to convince my husband that we should do this (or heck, to convince myself we should do this.) There has to be a better way to live life.

I Just Locked In $2M of Term Life Insurance for $2600 per year

I guess I should be grateful that one agency decided to offer me a “standard” policy. Consider this your daily PSA kids–get term life insurance when you are young, healthy, and can qualify.

While healthcare has government regulations in place to assure you aren’t getting completely screwed over, life insurance has none of this. What this means that life insurance agencies can make you pay more for being “risky” or flat-out deny you, and they won’t even tell you WHY you were denied.

While I’m in the overweight (not obese) category, which makes me higher risk to start, that should not prevent me from getting approved for term life insurance. What prevents me from getting approved, shockingly, is my history of depression.  Apparently having a history of depression means that I’m uninsurable.

One agency offered me a quote at “standard” rates… and given I now understand how uninsurable I am, I’m taking them up on a 30 year $2M policy just to be safe for $2600 a year. I might be over insuring at this point, but I can always drop the policy down in the future if I no longer need that much coverage. I look at my son and think, god, what would happen if I get hit by a bus and my family is left without my income. I can’t leave them like that.

I do have a $300k policy through work, but that’s pocket change for what is really needed, and the likelihood of my working for the same company for the next 30 years (or one that offers similar benefits) is very slim to very none. So that’s a “bonus” should I get hit by a bus tomorrow, but we need a real policy to provide coverage in case I kick the bucket a little early.

$2600 a year seems like a lot (heck, it is a lot, especially since we’re now looking into getting my husband who is 37 with medication-treated chronic high blood pressure his own policy, plus a disability policy since as a self-employed person he does not qualify for government coverage should he get insured or sick and not be able to work. I’m expecting our total insurance coverage to cost us around $8k a year, which is shit, but it is what it is.  Better safe than sorry, I guess.

It’s just so frustrating with life insurance that they can charge me whatever they want and not explain why I’m getting charged this. I wish I was approved by more than one company so I’d have options to compare, but my broker reached out to many companies and only one provided a quote (well apparently another table rated me and he said the quote was so high he didn’t bother sharing it with me.) I should be happy to have a “standard” quote. I hope this agency didn’t somehow miss something in my medical history that will disqualify me later, but they all saw the same information and bloodwork results…

It sounds like after two years of paying premiums it’s harder for them to refuse to pay out if you get hit by a bus… which means if I die in the next two years by getting hit by a bus, they’ll probably accuse me of walking into said bus (even if I’m standing on the sidewalk minding my own business and the bus hits me.) That really sucks, because for the next two years I’m paying for coverage but I’m not really covered at all. After that, I’ll be covered, I just have to come up with the $2600 a year to pay for insurance.

So I’m semi kicking myself for not applying for insurance before I got pregnant, but I’m not sure how much of a difference it would have made… a 30 year policy would have lasted 2 years less at that point, and I still had depression on my medical record, just not PPD yet (and my short disability leave due to it.) I’m unclear if the reason these companies denied me was my PPD, or if it was my record of “major depression” or my not taking medication or what. It’s crazy they don’t have to explain why they won’t give you a policy, they can just deny you and that’s that.

And, am I really that much more likely to die in the next 30 years because I’m depressed and going to therapy? You’d think the many people out there who are depressed but not willing to admit it and who are NOT going to therapy are more likely to end up dead than someone who is being treated.

If they actuarially think I’m such a high risk that they won’t insure me at all–that it isn’t even worth taking some ridiculously high premiums to insure me–then should I be concerned? I mean, am I going to die in the next 30 years because I’m depressed? I’d prefer not to.

 

The Things that Matter: American Workaholism and Being a Mom

It’s 5am and I am exhausted but can’t get back to sleep after my son woke up screaming for milk a few hours ago. He didn’t actually drink that much. My breasts are still engorged and I’m too tired/lazy to pump. I’m supposed to “wake up” for work in an hour, to make myself presentable for an 8am meeting. I’m not doing the best job of being presentable given I’m so exhausted and no amount of coffee will help.

But my exhaustion isn’t just due to being woken up in the middle of the night. It’s the hopeless exhaustion of now being in the midst of the roller coaster of life, with time both going too fast and too slow, and memories of long gone childhood reminding me that life wasn’t always like this–always so formulaic in its requirements for supporting basic sustainability of existence.

My fear to pay more in rent a month isn’t helping. My fear of running out of money, or, more so, of getting to the point where I have a nervous breakdown and do not go into work one day because I can no longer stand the majority of my waking hours being dedicated to trying to get people to buy a product that–very successfully–helps companies reduce their workforce (though that’s not its primary purpose, but like most tech for business these days, it’s one of its benefits.) Oh, it’s a great product and it’s exciting to be part of a company that’s growing and a team that is not in it to change the world despite also building products that reduce headcount (the idealism of startups was nice for a while, but it also feels good to be part of a team that doesn’t entirely live and breathe work 24/7.) But, at the end of the day, always the very long yet never long enough day, I sit in traffic on the freeway for 45 minutes with all the other commuters headed home and talk to my 6 month old son on the phone who is crying and anxious for mom (well, for mom’s chest anyway) and who doesn’t care that I’m sitting in traffic or that I have to go to work to make enough money to try to save so maybe one day we can buy a house and go on vacations and such.

The reality is that my situation is so much better than 99% of the world, maybe even 99.9% of the world, and I’m still, well, not happy. I don’t know if I have the capacity for sustained happiness, given it’s me we’re talking about, but I’d like to not constantly live in fear. I acknowledge that buying a house with monthly mortgage payments will heighten my anxiety immensely. If we can make it work to buy a property with my MIL and FIL, and keep our monthly payments closer to what we’re paying now (or at least what we’d pay in rent for a decent 3br/2ba apartment), then maybe that’s ok. But then there’s all the other issues that come up with home ownership. It’s terrifying.

But then I’m also sitting here, 35 going on 40, realizing that there is no “when” at this point in life. I’m past the stage of saving and waiting. It’s now or never. I have a kid. I have a job that is as stable as my work will probably ever be. I have a husband who may return to school to make even less than he does now, but at least he’ll get benefits in case I should lose said job. Why not just take the leap? Have some stability for once? I’d like to give that to my kid. He won’t remember his first year of life, but I’d prefer not to jump around from rental to rental throughout his life. I know it’s not the end of the world, but I grew up in one home from 0-17 and although moving once or twice in that timeframe is ok, moving every year or every other year is best to be avoided. I want to meet my neighbors, I want to feel like we’ve “made it” by having our own backyard, however small it is. Our own kitchen and bathroom and walls and tiny storage area so my bike doesn’t have to live in our living room.

I’m tired. I’m tired and unhealthy and I know my body is upset for it. I feel myself aging too fast. I’m not finding time to work out and my diet has gone to complete shit. There’s so much I want to improve, but for now, I’m barely getting by.

I do not want to lose my job.

I’m already feeling incredibly guilty for taking a small amount of additional time on disability for PPD, and am ashamed to face my colleagues when I return to work, especially knowing that I will be taking additional (legally-protected) leave in the next year to spend time with my kid. I hate, hate, have being THAT woman and would not blame my employer for figuring out the fastest way to show me the door.

I’m hoping that won’t happen. I don’t pray, but I’m praying that won’t happen. I just can see how they’re understanding how they can operate perfectly well without me, and they would rather replace me with someone else–or any mistake I make will be a quick reason to show me the door. I feel bad for becoming a mother and worse for not adjusting well to motherhood.

When I return to work, I really need to bring my A-game, from day one, through day a billion. I always try to do this, of course, but now I have to fight hard and strong to keep this job. I don’t deserve it, I am not good at it, and I have to try hard to do whatever it takes to be a good employee. I don’t know how to do this, because I’m socially awkward, unintelligent, and a complete fraud. But I’ll try. I’ll try and I’ll stop telling my husband I’m going to get fired because it makes him upset and he says I need to stop telling myself this because I self sabotage.

How can I keep this job? Like, really keep it. For at least three more years. Twelve more quarters. Thirty-six more months… 1095 more days…of amazing, irreplaceable-quality work.  Non stop. Full energy. Listening to my coworkers and doing whatever it takes to help them achieve their goals. Helping my boss who already looks great look even better. Being a team player. Never asking for anything other than the opportunity to do what’s right for the team and company. Maybe, maybe I can keep this job those 1095 days.

It’s a whole new ballgame now, being a mom. I’m terrified. I feel very alone in this journey and need to figure out how to just make it work, on my own. I wish I was smarter… higher IQ… or at least better at faking it. I’m so scared right now. It’s like I’m hanging onto a cliff with one hand with hurricane force winds swirling around me and gravity times a thousand puling me down. I’m holding on for dear life. I want to somehow minimize my interaction with others… I’ve been far to personally invested in my work projects. I get too emotional. I care too much. That’s the problem. I need to care less and do more.

There has to be a way.